Abundant Living: 7 day energy/weight loss challenge will reduce sleepy eyes

This week’s article is meant to give you a small glimpse at what is possible in the realm of weight loss and overall wellness.

Imagine it is a typical day. It’s been tough, but you’re killing it as usual. Eventually you’re at your desk or in your car and it begins. You start getting a little sleepy, you yawn, and at some point you get a bit foggy.

Your solution is to grab a cup of coffee but that usually doesn’t quite do the trick to bring you up to 100 percent capacity. Around 4 p.m. you and your coworkers begin to count the minutes until quitting time.

Don’t believe me? Take a look around your office floor between 4 and 4:30 p.m. today. I guarantee your office mates will be looking at their smart phones every 3 minutes.

This problem, while prevalent, is not part of the normal daily cycle for healthy adults. The cause is probably a handful of very common things, but for the purpose of this article we will limit the discussion to chronic sleep deprivation and poor food timing.

The first, and by far the most common health issue, is chronic sleep deprivation. Right now I am raising my hand and admitting that I am guilty of this.

My mantra as a college student was, “sleep is for the weak.” I could stay up until 2 or 3 a.m., crash for a few hours and be up for breakfast by 7 a.m. to do it all again (of course I was studying until 3 a.m. most nights).

Studies on sleep deprivation show that getting poor or inadequate sleep for as little as one night has been linked to over eating, weight gain, decreased alertness, decreased memory, increased inflammation, increased incidence of depression, anxiety … the list goes on.

Now let’s discuss food timing. No, this isn’t a complex article about carbohydrate windows and absorption rates from a Sports Medicine text. What I am talking about is not constantly putting something in our mouths.

I enjoy food as much as the next person, probably more than most people, but the truth is most Americans overeat. Not only do we overeat, but we are stuffing ourselves with processed foods, full of additives and preservatives, that are high in calories and low in nutrients.

What does this have to do with timing your meals? What I propose is simple. Limit yourself to two meals per day for one week. I know this sounds like sacrilege but hear me out. You will not ruin your metabolism and I promise you won’t starve or overeat.

What you will be doing is dabbling with a concept called intermittent fasting, of which I will delve into more deeply in a future article. The idea is to eat normally but limit the window to about eight hours. Say, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Essentially you’ll be giving your digestive system a rest and, should you choose, cutting your calories a bit.

(Note: This challenge isn’t for someone with chronic health issues such as diabetes).

For seven days skip breakfast (except for a cup of coffee, tea, etc.) have an early lunch and then eat dinner at a normal time. Your lunch should be something satisfying that is high in nutrients and has an adequate amount of protein and healthy fat such as a salad with a grilled chicken breast, a little olive oil and avocado.

No pasta, bread, or sugar for lunch. That’s it. Simple, right?

When you try this note how you feel in the afternoon and I bet you will notice that you aren’t yawning, or clock watching quite as much.

Now, go forth and prosper and I’ll check back in with more steps to help you on your way to Abundant Living.

Bellomo has a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, is a certified strength and condition specialist and performance enhancement specialist with 24 years in the fitness and wellness field.